Why is it that the answer…

Why is it that the answer after the fact is always right?

How is it that what might have seemed obvious is always obvious after the fact?

And explain the phenomenon of winning the war after the battle is lost…

Some call it 20/20 hindsight – that unique talent for looking at history and predicting the outcome.

In the United States it’s often called the Monday morning quarterback (a U.S. football reference) – the amazing ability to call every play in a game the right way…but the morning after.

In life I’d call it passing the buck – the comforting notion that you can, with impunity, comment, analyze and pontificate as an expert on any subject as you watch the issue fly by to land, often with a sickening thud, elsewhere.

Look at the news any day. See what I mean?
Look around your work environment – I’m sure you can spot it.
Look around your circle and I bet it exists.

It’s the pundits who knew that the Japanese reactors were a disaster waiting to happen. It’s our colleagues who knew the account was in danger. It’s our friends who knew the relationship wasn’t meant to be.

Now – to be fair – there are prophets out there. Not the kind in long robes with wild hair (although the hair part is sometimes true…), but people who think, look ahead, analyze, have no personal agenda (think politicians) and who have the courage, or better, the integrity to speak up and out.

So there were those who made the case for Japan, and by the way, for the world, and were often dismissed as fringe players. And there are those who speak up in business before they are silenced by the forces of short-term profit. And, yes, we have all had that friend who tried to save us from ourselves and whom we no doubt dismissed as being jealous or not personally loyal.

However, we usually realize how right they were only when the “historians” jump in and loudly rehash the issue, object, problem, and ride the waves of awareness, disappointment, fear and anger.

Clearly the events of the past few weeks, and even months, have been on my mind and in my posts – the “surprise” events in the Middle East (including the ever-evolving surprise outcomes), Japan, my own business life and friends’ personal problems….

And when I saw the following thought, the source talked to me. Listen:

In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”  Warren Buffett

Known as “the Prophet of Omaha,” Buffet is always looking forward. He takes responsibility; he learns and moves on; his integrity is real and his values are basic.

I read this as “life” and I read it as an admonition not unlike those from the prophets of old.

Think about it.  Maybe we need to turn on the wipers full speed…and always…What do you think?

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